All of cassidynelson's Comments + Replies

Giving Later in Life: Giving More

I think something to consider when deciding on the time point of giving is not only the investment in your own financial future, but the investment in the cause your donation is contributing towards. A donation today/this decade may have a smaller overall absolute value compared with a delayed plan for donating, but the effect of that donation today compounds over time as well.

For example, giving $1000 to a high impact charity working in extreme poverty cause areas may mean that in 10 years from now a community that benefited has a marked alteration in tr... (read more)

Definitely, I think that the discount rate each of us applies to future donations is an extremely important factor to consider. In fact, I would be in the camp that this discount rate is likely very high - mostly in agreement with the points you have made. Now that I have reached a point where I can start giving without affecting my life choices, I'm planning on giving away a majority of the balance as soon as I get my hands on it, rather than investing to increase future donations.
Enlightened Concerns of Tomorrow

I agree and that appears the likely sequelae. I find it a bit disappointing that he went into this topic with his view already formed, and used the prominent contentious points and counterarguments to reinforce his preconceptions without becoming familiar with the detailed refutations already out there. It's great to have good debate and opposing views presented, but his broad stroke dismissal makes it really difficult.

Enlightened Concerns of Tomorrow

I agree, I found it surprising as well that he has taken this view. It seems like he has read a portion of Bostrom's Global Catastrophic Risks and Superintelligence, has become familiar with the general arguments and prominent examples, but then has gone on to dismiss existential threats on reasons specifically addressed in both books.

He is a bit more concerned about nuclear threats than other existential threats, but I wonder if this is the availability heuristic at work given the historical precedent instead of a well-reasoned line of argument.

Great sug... (read more)

2Risto Uuk4y
Sam Harris did ask Steven Pinker about AI safety. If anybody gets around listening to that, it starts at 1:34:30 and ends at 2:04, so that's about 30 minutes about risks from AI. Harris wasn't his best in that discussion and Pinker came off much more nuanced and evidence and reason based.
I think part of the problem is that he expressed a very dismissive stance towards AI/x-risk positions publicly, seemingly before he'd read anything about them. Now people have pushed back and pointed out his obvious errors and he's had to at least somewhat read about what the positions are, but he doesn't want to backtrack at all from his previous statement of extreme dismissiveness.
Avoiding AI Races Through Self-Regulation

This article has many parallels with Greg Lewis' recent article on the unilateralist's curse, as it pertains to biotechnology development.

If participation in an SRO is voluntary, even if you have 9/10 organisations on board how do you stop the final from proceeding with AGI development without oversight? I'd imagine that the setup of a SRO may infer disadvantages to participants potentially, thus indirectly incentivizing non-participation (if the lack of restrictions increase the probability of reaching AGI first).

Do you anticipate a SRO may be an initial step towards a more obligatory framework for oversight?

0G Gordon Worley III4y
An SRO might incentivize participation in several ways. One is idea sharing, be it via patent agreements or sharing of trade secrets among members on a secure forum. Another is via social and possibly legal penalties for non-participation, or by acting as a cartel to lock non-participants out of the market the way many professional groups do. That said it does seem a step in the direction of legal oversight, but moves us towards a model similar to so-called technocratic regulatory bodies rather than one where legislation tries to directly control actions. Creating an SRO would give us an already-existing organization that could step in to serve this role in an official capacity if governments or inter-governmental organizations choose to regulate AI.
Why we should be doing more systematic research

Systematic research would be useful to many areas within EA, and I agree - that from a broader perspective it is incorporated more here than other communities.

I think this discussion would benefit from acknowledging the risk of confirmation bias and general systematic inductive reasoning and deductive reasoning errors. Especially with related to your criteria example, I think there is a danger of finding evidence to confirm to existing beliefs about what framework should be used.

All the same though, do you think systematically comparing several criteria options will arrive at a better outcome? How would we assess this?

Cognitive and emotional barriers to EA's growth

Great work and I really enjoyed reading this presentation.

On slide 27, where did you get the estimates for "Human-caused X-risks are thousands of times more likely per year than natural X-risks"

I agree with this generally but was wondering if you have a source for the thousands times more.

How much does it cost to roll-out a vaccine?

For the malaria vaccine, what was the additional 2$ cost for? In the citation, it just says it is an assumed constant. Why is it per child and not per dose?

I'm wondering what factor of vaccine production across the spectrum would be most associated with lower cost. I'd imagine R&D timeframe would be a large component, but are there specific cost-related factors that you predict matter more or less? Does making a vaccine that does not require refrigeration lower the cost substantially in rollout?

1Peter Wildeford4y
The additional $2 cost appears to be an amortization of various administration, implementation, and monitoring costs. We haven't looked into this in detail so it's hard to say. Making a vaccine that does not require refrigeration would cut down on costs related to maintaining and creating a "cold chain" (continuous refrigerated storage and transportation), but I don't anticipate these costs being that high and I'd expect them to be offset by significantly increased manufacturing costs per dose for making such a vaccine. We'll have more conclusions on cost and cost effectiveness in future posts.
Reading group guide for EA groups

Thanks Risto,

This is great! EA Melbourne had its first reading group last weekend, and we did a Peter Singer paper for the first session. I think your questions list will come in use for our next one and I'll bring it to the group.

How fragile was history?

Great read and interesting take on alternative considerations. A discussion about fundamental attribution error would be interesting here - or a closely related concept. Not applicable to existence vs. non-existence, but I'd imagine we have poor intuitions at knowing the effect of changes to perturbations in individual human characteristics, and I wonder if something similar is at play when we estimate the effect of our actions, personal choices or character. In a stochastic enough system with a large number of players, perhaps single changes become absorbed into the background chaos.